Tech & Innovation

71% of European businesses expect to reach digital maturity by 2019

By Business & Finance
16 September 2014

The majority (71%) of business leaders are confident they can transition from a state of digital transformation to digital maturity within just five years, according to research from Coleman Parkes, commissioned by Ricoh Europe.

2,200 managers from businesses across Europe, including Ireland, were interviewed in May and June 2014.

The findings reveal that digital maturity – where an organisation uses sophisticated tools to drive performance and demonstrates an on-going commitment to technology, technology-led initiatives and digitally managed processes – is now a priority for 77% of European businesses.

Although the main obstacle to achieving digital maturity is seen as cost (cited by 68% of respondents), business leaders acknowledge the financial rewards. Almost three quarters (73%) believe that achieving digital maturity will directly lead to an increase in profits and 62 per cent say that maturity increases a business’s appeal to potential investors and new owners.

Yet despite the agreement over the positive implications of digital maturity – with commonly cited responses including faster business processes (80%), a stronger competitive advantage (70%) and faster decision-making (69%) – the research also offers a warning. There seems to be a degree of over-confidence among business leaders in their readiness and ability to become digitally mature.

David Mills, CEO at Ricoh Europe, says: “Within a year, digital maturity has become a source of optimism for businesses. With the pace of technology-led change and associated expectations stronger than ever, digital maturity is set to become the ‘new normal’. However, business leaders must address the obstacles to ensure they have the infrastructure in place to support it and unlock the many benefits of becoming digitally mature.

Having a robust framework and partner support are essential. With technology constantly evolving businesses will need to remain committed in order to achieve and maintain their digitally mature status. Regularly reviewing processes, enhancing ways of working and integrating new technologies will be central to realising this goal. For many businesses digital maturity could soon become an essential strategic asset, as well as a key driver to boost organisational appeal, reputation and long term profits.”

The insights highlight widespread optimism which contrasts sharply with attitudes towards digital transformation from just one year ago, where research found that 63 per cent of business leaders felt their organisations were far from ready for digital transformation. This extensive shift in perception could stem from the rapid pace of technological change, together with increasing recognition of leveraging technology and technology-led processes for commercial benefit.